If the new, boozy Taco Bell in Wicker Park isn’t sating your appetite for the spiced and tortilla’d, hang tight: Coming next month to the behemoth Loop shopping mall Block 37 is Latinicity (108 N. State, Loop, no phone yet), a 20,000-square-foot Latin market by globetrotting celebrity chef Richard Sandoval.
Composed of 12 Latin-American food stands and one full-service restaurant, Latinicity is “absolutely inspired by Eataly,” says Sandoval, who was raised in Mexico City and owns restaurants in Qatar, Serbia, and Hong Kong.
“People are looking more toward ethnic foods,” says the Denver-based chef of his Chicago debut and first-ever attempt at this concept, “and it made sense to build one place where you could experience all of Latin America.” Concretely, that means food stands dedicated to south-of-the-border fare including tortas, seviche, grilled meats, seafood, and pastry, all lining Latinicity’s strollable third-floor space. At the center of the market will be a tapas restaurant with a menu designed in conjunction with Jose Garces (Rural Society), and at the far end will be a 50-seat bar with views of the Loop.
Logistically, Latinicity will operate like a high-class foodcourt. Upon entering, guests will get a charge card valid at any of the market’s food stations, which they’re free to browse with a drink in hand. A dining room with more than 200 seats will accommodate all the stands, and as with Eataly, cooking classes taught by rotating Latin chefs are in the works. There will also be a marketplace slinging various Sandoval merch. Pressed on what a meal at Latinicity will cost, the head chef promises “reasonable” prices—but that’s a relative term.
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